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Tablet maker spins Angstrom-based dev firmware

Nov 30, 2009 — by Eric Brown — from the LinuxDevices Archive — 5 views

Archos announced it is releasing developer firmware for its Linux-based Archos 5 and Archos 7 Internet Tablets. The “proof of concept” developer edition release for the touch-based portable media players (PMPs) is based on the Angstrom Linux distribution and the OpenEmbedded automated build environment, says the company.

Released in response to "requests from the software developer community," the firmware can be used as a "starting point" for developing "native applications and creating new usage models," says Archos. The distribution lacks "traditional Archos multimedia software" and is "by no means a commercial grade release," adds the company.

Archos 5 with 60GB (left) and 320GB storage options

The Linux-based Archos 5 and Archos 7 Internet Tablets, which are similar except for the size of their touchscreens (4.8- and 7 inches respectively) were announced in August 2008. Igny, France-based Archos has been making Linux-based PMPs for years, including the PMA400, the Archos 604, and the 7-inch Archos 704.

In September of this year, Archos shipped an Android version of the Archos 5. It is unclear whether the early release firmware will be extended to support the Android model, as well.

Archos 7 with 160GB (left) and 320GB storage options

Based on ARM Cortex-A8-based Texas Instruments OMAP3x processor, both the Linux models and the Android version include WiFi, optional hard drives, and an optional 3.5G cellular connections. The devices are said to be capable of playing 720p video.

The Angstrom-based distribution is generated from an OpenEmbedded build, says Archos. The two technologies are often paired in developer-oriented releases. For example, they are both used in Always Innovating's Touch Book, another tablet device, which like the Archos tablets, is based on an OMAP3x processor.

OpenEmbedded is an automated build environment aimed at providing a repository of everything needed to cross-compile embedded filesystem images from scratch — toolchains, sourcecode, XML-based "recipe" files, and automated "bitbake" make scripts. It is especially useful for helping open source developers share configuration information when compiling software to run on specific hardware.

Archos 5 Internet Tablet (Android version)
(Click to enlarge)

Stated Archos, "Having opened the door to developers, Archos eagerly anticipates seeing its hardware platform used as a foundation for creating exciting new usage models and applications that the developer community brings."


The early-release developer edition firmware for the Archos 5 and Archos 7 Internet Tablets is available now, says Archos. More information may be found by contacting Archos at [email protected].

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